Several hundred Google employees sign manifesto against vaccination mandate

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hundreds Google Employees have signed and circulated a manifesto protesting the company’s vaccination mandate, posing the latest challenge to leadership as it approaches the crucial deadline for employees to return to offices in person.

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The Biden administration has ordered US companies with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated or tested regularly COVID-19 In response, Google has asked its more than 150,000 employees to upload vaccination status to their internal systems by December 3, according to internal documents seen by CNBC, whether they plan to go to the office or not. The company has also said that all employees working directly or indirectly with government contracts should be vaccinated – even if they are working from home.

In an email sent in late October, Google VP of safety Chris Racko wrote, “Vaccines are critical to a safe return to the office for everyone and our ability to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

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Racko said the company was already implementing the requirements, so the changes to Biden’s executive order were “minimal.” His email gave employees a November 12 deadline to request exemptions for reasons such as religious beliefs or medical conditions, and said cases would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

The manifesto within Google, which has been signed by at least 600 Google employees, calls on company leaders to withdraw the vaccination mandate and create a new one that is “including all Googlers”, arguing that the leadership’s The decision will have a greater impact in Corporate America. It also calls on employees to “resist the mandate as a principle” and tells employees not to let policy alter their decision if they have already chosen not to receive the Covid-19 shot. .

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Manifesto comes as most of Google workforce expires Return Going to physical offices three days a week from January 10. The company’s particularly outspoken employees have already debated everything government bond For cafeteria meal change.

A Google spokesperson said the company stood behind its policy. “As we have told all of our employees and the authors of this document, our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can keep our workforce safe and our services running. Standing firmly.”

mandate dilemma

Vaccination is a dilemma not only for Google, but for corporate America in general. The Covid-19 virus has contributed to 772,570 deaths in the US, according to johns hopkins figures. despite being proven Effectiveness In providing a high level of protection against hospitalization and death, the country has Struggle To persuade millions of people to take their first dose, as more than 60 million Americans remain unvaccinated.

In July, CEO Sundar Pichai announced the company is needed Vaccination for those returning to offices. Pichai in October said That San Francisco Bay Area offices, near its headquarters, are up to 30 percent full, while New York is looking to scale back nearly half of its workforce. He said at the time that workers who did not want to be vaccinated would be able to continue working remotely.

The company has also taken other steps to persuade employees to get vaccinated. For example, Joe Cava, vice president of data centers at Google, announced a $5,000 vaccination incentive spot bonus for US data center employees, according to the manifesto.

Quoted in the manifesto and in an email seen by CNBC, Google VP of global security Chris Racko said that because of the company’s work with the federal government, which “today covers products and services spanning advertising, cloud maps, workspaces and more.” “All employees working directly or indirectly with government contracts will need to be vaccinated – even if they are working from home. Repeated testing “is not a valid option,” he said.

The manifesto’s authors strongly disagree.

“I believe Sundar’s vaccine mandate is deeply flawed,” the manifesto said, calling the company’s leadership “coercive” and “opposing inclusion.”

In a subtitle titled “Respect the User”, the authors write that “barring non-vaccinated Googlers from office publicly and possibly embarrassingly exposes a personal preference as it would be difficult for a Googler not to reveal it.” Why can’t they come back?”

The author also argues that the mandate violates the company’s principles of inclusion.

“Such Googlers may not feel comfortable expressing their true feelings about a company’s health policy and other, unrelated sensitive topics. This results in siled perspective and increases the internal ideological ‘echo chamber’ that Google calls itself.” People inside and outside have seen over the years.”

The manifesto also opposed Google, which keeps records of the vaccination status of employees.

“I do not believe that Google should be aware of the health and medical histories of Googlers and the immunization status is no exception.” Google has asked employees to upload their vaccination proof to Google’s “Environmental Health and Safety” team, even if they have already uploaded it to One Medical, one of Google’s benefits providers, according to internal documentation. According to.

The author then tries to argue that the vaccination mandate may be the beginning of a slippery slope, paving the way for other intrusive measures – a common line of argument among people opposed to the mandate.

“This normalizes the compulsion for medical intervention not only for COVID-19 vaccination but also for future vaccines and possibly non-vaccine interventions. It justifies the principle of division and unequal treatment based on personal beliefs and judgments of Googlers. The implications are chilling. Because of its presence as an industry leader, Google’s mandate will influence companies around the world to regard these as acceptable tradeoffs.

The document said the group sent these concerns to Google’s chief health officer, Karen DeSalvo, in an open letter.

According to an internal email series seen by CNBC, at Google’s most recent all-hands meeting, called TGIF, some employees asked fellow employees more on the vaccination question by “downvoting” other questions in an internal system called Dory. Tried to pay attention. The goal was to ensure that his questions received enough votes to qualify for being addressed by officials.

Google’s Health Ambitions

Pushback against the vaccination mandate poses a new challenge to Google’s leadership at a time when it is attempting to target the health care industry amid its growing business ambitions — specifically for its cloud unit.

In August, Google disbanded Its health unit as a formal business unit for the health care sector and Dr. David Feinberg, who led the search giant’s health care unit over the past two years, left the company. Nonetheless, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian regularly mentions the health care sector as a key focus area and DeSalvo, an ex-Obama administrator who was appointed by Google as its first health chief in 2019. , said CNBC’s “Squawk Box” last month the tech giant is “still on health.”

The company has tried to capitalize on the wider fight against Kovid in several ways. In the first half of 2021, the company spent nearly $30 million on at-home COVID tests for employees Q Health, Who went public At a valuation of $3 billion in September. Soon after, the company announced a separate partnership with Google’s cloud arm to collect and analyze COVID-19 data with the hope of predicting future variants. Google has also partnered with Apple to opt-in contract tracing In hopes of tracking the software Kovid-19.

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